I always think that the world of illusionists and magicians would make a good backdrop for a mystery movie. The Prestige is not a mystery movie, per se. But i think the plot it has is perfectly situated in the world of magic.
The flick opens with a shot of numerous top hats on a field of fallen leaves, slightly invoking curiosity. Then a narrator (voiced by a co-star, Michael Caine) explains that a magic act is divided into three parts: the pledge (the illussionist shows that all of his props are just regular things), the turn (the part where he does his trick), and the prestige (the part where he undoes the magic).
The story then moves to Robert Angier (Hugh Jackman) who is performing on stage. He then asks members of the audience to inspect his contraption for any sign of manipulation. Among them was a disguised Aflred Borden (Christian Bale), who soon after bolted to the backstage area, looking like he’s trying to find the secret to Angier’s magic. At this moment, Angier drops from the trapdoor into a glass tank full of water which subsequently closed and locked automatically, drowning him to death. This puts Borden as the accused murderer.
During the awaiting of his verdict, Borden learns about Angier through his diary (which in turn tells about Angier’s effort to read through Borden’s own trick book cum diary). Then the story switches back and forth through Borden’s diary and Angier’s (and thus the rivalry between the two), drawing slowly to the flick’s climax.
Bale’s acting deserves a compliment, and also Caine’s (playing Angier’s engineer). But not so for Jackman’s and Johansson’s (acting as Angier’s assistant and Borden’s mistress). Nevertheless, what contributes most to the movie’s quality is the plot itself (written in part by the director himself, Christopher Nolan – Batman Returns’ director). I have to admit that the plot gets predictable in some points of the movie, though.
Oh! Did you know that David Bowie also acts (yes, he got several lines more than usual, not just a cameo) in this movie. He’s Tesla, the inventor who gets hired by Angier to devise a way to teleport him from one place to another.
I’m giving this movie 4 out of 5. Go see it while it’s still being shown everywhere, people!
Just for the record:
- Theatre: Pondok Indah XXI
- Studio: 3
- Date: 11/11/2006
Psst, you can read what the pro reviewers said about the movie here.